Main events in Spain's royal corruption scandal

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Madrid (AFP)

Spain's royal family is reeling from a financial corruption scandal centred on King Felipe VI's sister, 50-year-old Cristina, and her 47-year-old husband Inaki Urdangarin.

The couple went on trial Monday along with 16 others in a case which has outraged Spaniards and tainted the prestige of the monarchy. Here is an outline of the key events in the affair:

MARRIAGE

On October 4, 1997, then king Juan Carlos's youngest daughter Cristina marries Urdangarin, a six-foot-six (1.98-metre), blue-eyed Olympic handball player who becomes the Duke of Palma.

BUSINESS

From 2004-2006, Urdangarin presides over the Noos Institute, of which Cristina is a board member. A non-profit foundation, Noos offers consultancy services and organises sports and tourism conferences for the private and public sectors.

HUSBAND IN TROUBLE

On December 29, 2011, investigating Judge Jose Castro summons Urdangarin to answer corruption allegations on suspicion that Noos has been creaming off money from government contracts.

Questioned by a judge in Palma de Mallorca on February 25, 2012, Urdangarin, who has already been removed from official royal duties, denies any wrongdoing.

PRINCESS ENSNARED

Urdangarin tries to keep his wife out of it, but in April 2013, she is also summoned as a suspect, although the summons is revoked after a prosecutor's appeal.

But a new summons for Cristina is issued on January 7, 2014, to answer allegations of tax fraud and money-laundering.

A ROYAL SUSPECT

On February 8, 2014, Cristina becomes the first direct relative of the king to appear in front of a judge as a suspect.

In a closed-door session, she distances herself from the accusations, denying knowledge of her husband's dealings and saying she trusts him.

SENT TO TRIAL

On December 22, 2014, Judge Jose Castro says Cristina must stand trial on two counts of accessory to tax fraud, but drops the money-laundering charges.

She is the first member of the Spanish royal family to face criminal charges since the monarchy was reinstated in 1975.

The case is a big headache for King Felipe VI, who took the throne in 2014 promising an "honest and transparent monarchy".

STRIPPED OF TITLE

A year after acceding to the throne, Felipe on June 12, 2015 strips Cristina and Urdangarin of their titles of Duchess and Duke of Palma in a bid to undo damage to the monarchy's image caused by the scandal.

She remains sixth in line to the throne, a right only she can relinquish.